Wall Street's thirst for faster processing speeds and low-latency analytic computations is turning into a game, of sorts. Graphics cards that are used to power game consoles such as PlayStation and Xbox are turning up on quantitative trading desks, where they're being used to calculate options analytics.
Nvidia, the Santa Clara, Calif.-based graphics chip maker that rode the video game boom and the demand for 3-D graphics rendering, is producing high-performance computing appliances based on graphics processing units, or GPUs, that are much more powerful than conventional hardware. Nvidia has sold the GPU processors to the oil and gas industries, and universities doing research on cancer or molecular dynamics, according to the company. With compute-intensive applications such as real-time options valuation, Wall Street now is eyeing the technology as well.